A comparison of hispine beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) associated with three orders of monocot host plants in lowland Panama

  • Christophe MeskensEmail author
  • Donald Windsor
  • Thierry Hance


The feeding traces in fossil ginger leaves and the conserved phylogenetic relationships seen today in certain clades of hispine beetles on their monocot hosts point towards a long and intimate plant-insect evolutionary relationship. Studies in the 1970s and 1980s documented the rich fauna of rolled-leaf hispine beetles and their association with the Neotropical monocot family Heliconiaceae in Central America. In this report, the taxonomic breadth of these early studies is expanded to include species in the families, Marantaceae, Poaceae, Arecaceae and Costaceae, all with species occurring sympatrically with the Heliconiaceae in lowland Panama. Additionally, the analysis is widened to include open-leaf scraping and internal leaf-mining clades of hispoid Cassidinae. The censuses add more than 5080 Cassidinae herbivore occurrence records on both open and unfurled new leaf rolls of 4600 individual plants. Cluster analysis reveals that while many Hispinae species tend to group with plant species in only one of the three monocot orders, 9 of 16 Hispinae species on Zingiberales hosts were recorded in substantial numbers on both the Heliconiaceae and the Marantaceae, indicating an underlying pattern of feeding flexibility at the host plant family level.

Key words

Cassidinae Arecales Poales Zingiberales hispine beetles species assemblages 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christophe Meskens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donald Windsor
    • 2
  • Thierry Hance
    • 1
  1. 1.Unité d’Écologie et de Biogéographie, Biodiversity Research CentreUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteApartadoPanama

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